“Service with open arms”: enhancing community healthcare experiences for individuals with a history of incarceration [2019]

Background
The criminal justice-involved population has a higher disease burden than the general population and a high risk of death post-incarceration. However, this group underutilizes healthcare, especially preventive and primary care services. Sixteen in-person, semi-structured interviews were conducted with formerly incarcerated individuals in Milwaukee to explore health impacts of incarceration, barriers and facilitators to healthcare access, and what ideal health service provision would look like following incarceration. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using an immersion/crystallization approach.

Results
Overall, people perceived incarceration to have a negative impact on their physical and mental health and expressed dissatisfaction with care in correctional settings. Many faced lapses in care following incarceration, frequently due to insurance challenges.

Conclusions
Participants offered advice for designing an ideal clinic including formal coordination with corrections and provision of additional social services. Staff demeanor that created a welcoming and caring environment was highlighted as an important component and facilitator of care.

Devin Walsh-Felz, Ryan Westergaard, Gabrielle Waclawik & Nancy Pandhi
Health & Justice, volume 7, Article number: 20 (2019)
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